Prelude: My boss has a really bad toupee, his name is Al, but I call him “Hal,” which is short for “Hairless Al.”  In addition, he shares some of the characteristics of the bird I am naming below.

Scientist Discovers Astonishing New Bird

Moonachie, NJ - May 24 - Renowned ornithologist Dr. Richard "Dick" Pavlichek Acorn announced today the discovery of what he terms, "quite an astonishing new species of bird."  Dr. Acorn uncovered the new species during recent fieldwork in the fetid swamplands near Moonachie, New Jersey.  Fellow ornithologists agree that if Dr. Acorn's recent research passes ornithological muster, this could be the most momentous ornithological discovery of the past century.

Relaxing in his cluttered glass-enclosed cubicle recently, Dr. Acorn recounts his tale of discovery. "I couldn't believe it. I was studying bird droppings from native known species in the Moonachie swamplands to detect how printing chemicals are affecting the local species.

A flash movement near what appeared to be a large printing plant caught my eye.  Following after the movement, I approached a small vegetation cove and beheld a bird I'd never seen before.  I was dumbstruck."  Dr. Acorn described the new bird. "It was an ungainly creature, quite lanky, with large wings, but a scrawny frame.  It resembles large sea-going birds, reminding me instantly of a petrel or albatross.  In mannerism, it was cowering in the cove, looking about indecisively.  A plane taking off from the local airport startled the bird and threw the poor creature into terrible fits of ruffling feathers and scratching feet.  Then, noting my presence, the bird quite lost it, making an odd stuttering sound repeatedly, sounding forth to seemingly no purpose.  It had a tremendously ugly yet flagrant plume atop it's head that was striking to the point of artificiality."

Rival ornithologists welcome news of the discovery but some remain skeptical of confirming a new bird.  Ernie Tripolito – his friends jokingly call him “Ornie” - the Director of Bird Issues at the Center for Bird Issues, issued the following statement on Dr. Acorn's discovery.  "Despite Dr. Acorn's renowned reputation, I remain extremely wary of a new species in that particular ecosystem.  I find it difficult that such a bird species, with an obviously sparse population, could endure in the fetid, chemically-saturated environment of the Hackensack swamps. On the other hand, perhaps this new species demonstrates that a hardy bird can thrive there.  It's way too early to tell, and perhaps we'll never really know until more studies are done.  It's an issue we here at the Center for Bird Issues will watch closely, and if necessary issue further statements on the issue.

In his office, amidst tasteful bird-themed prints and objects, Dr. Acorn countered Tripolito's analysis.  "Look, Ernie sits over there cooped up in his Bird Issues office and holds forth on bird issues, but he never gets out in the field.  Where's his research?  I understand he has a parakeet in his office - oh, and a bird feeder in his yard.  Whoa, big bird man!  Now he does do a worthy job of publicizing important bird issues and in the process publicizes his center and himself.  I think Ernie has some quote-unquote 'serious issues.'  That's fine.  Still, I would invite Ernie to come out and get some fresh air and join me in the swamps to see this incredible new bird for himself." 

Author's Note

Everyone here at the company is in stitches, god forbid my boss gets wind of this.


To the discoverer of any new species goes the distinguished honor of naming that species, and on the subject, Dr. Acorn - his close colleagues good-naturedly call him "Dickie" - turns philosophical.  "It's a gigantic responsibility, finding and naming a new species.  Since my discovery, I have gotten input from bird-lovers the world over.  It's really refreshing to see the level of attraction that humans hold for birds.  Modesty prevents me from providing detail, but some female bird lovers are a little too enthusiastic.”  Dr. Acorn turns emphatic.  "Let me just say right now that this new bird WILL NOT be named the ‘Panties Bird’ or 'Panty Bird.'  I appreciate a good joke but enough is enough.  Please, PLEASE stop fooling around out there and messing with important bird science and research."

So in what direction is Dr. Acorn leaning?  "Well," he muses, rubbing the top of his gracefully balding head.  "I could go the ego route, and call it 'Dickie Bird,' which frankly has a pleasing ring to it.  I think 'Dickbird' on the other hand, conjures unpleasant connotations."  Dr. Acorn seems frustrated, tension lines creasing his pallid complexion. "This is not an easy process," he states glumly.

In the end, Dr. Acorn's modest reputation wins out. "The new bird's salient characteristics are it's cowering nature, the disgusting head plumage, a kind of stuttering indecisiveness, combined with the strong resemblance to seagoing birds.  Yet it's not nearly as graceful in appearance as those voyaging species.  Therefore I am going to christen the new species the "Homely Albatross," with a more commonly used name of 'Halbatross'."

Dr. Acorn obtained a PhD in ornithology (with a specialization in bird-droppings) from the Jersey City Institute for the Birds - which he also founded.  He is the author of numerous best-selling books including, "Flip your Bird!"  "Birds and/or Bush?" and his most recent comedy effort, "Be a Birdbrain!"  He lectures frequently at convalescent homes and all-girl high schools, but is more often and happily found mucking around in various bird-infested locations, seeking new species and a greater overall knowledge of birds.  Learn more at his website:

-- Dick Acorn